On Location: Zingerman's Deli, Ann Arbor, MI

Back in 1982, Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig opened a small deli near the farmers market in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and sold a small selection of Jewish-style sandwiches and prepared foods, as well as specialty items. Twenty-four years later, Zingerman's is a foodie's paradise, a landmark well-respected not just in Michigan but around the world. Aside from the incredible selection of deli sandwiches (Niman Ranch Pastrami, anyone?), they also have a wide selection of olive oils and balsamic vinegars.

But their cheese counter rivals some of the best in America. I was on business in Ann Arbor recently, and I got to see first-hand the bounty they offer. They have a nice array of cheeses from around the world, although I was expecting to see more

Cheese of the Week - Cato Corner Farm Hooligan

Cato Corner Farm, located 30 miles southwest of Hartford in Colchester, CT, produces some of the best artisanal raw cow's milk cheeses in the country. Run by a mother-son team, the farm has 30 Jersey cows that are raised on pasture without the use of hormones or subtherapeutic antibiotics.

Hooligan, which is only one of the many different varieties of cheese made at the farm, is a treat for all the senses. A stinky washed-rind cheese with a delicious mushroomy flavor, it comes in wheels that are

Saxelby Cheese in the Village Voice

This week's Village Voice offers a nice little profile of Anne Saxelby, new independent cheeesemonger on the New York City block. Ms. Saxelby opened Saxelby Cheese about a month ago in a corner of the Lower East Side's Essex Market formerly occupied by a dumpling purveyor. Choice quote from the article:

People occasionally approach her glorious glass case full of mold and ask, in despair, what happened to the dumpling lady. "I feel bad," she said. "I tell them there are lots of other great dumplings nearby."

Ukraine Gets Some New Kosher Cheeses

The Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS is reporting today that the Ukrainian Kashrut Committee plans to release two new kosher cheeses for Shavuot, a Jewish holiday traditionally celebrated by eating lots of dairy products. The two cheeses, Delikatesnaya Brynza and Bolgarskaya Brynza, are Balkan-style sheep's milk cheeses, similar to Quark in both texture and manufacture. Delikatesnaya Brynza is packed along with olives in a hot marinade,

"A Little Fermented Curd Will Do the Trick"

The Curd Nation is vast, but not so vast that the Internet can't help bring its citizens together in fresh and unexpected ways. Enter, BeaverCheese.org, a site that takes its name from Monty Python's Cheese Shop sketch, and which is devoted to exploring and reviewing the 43 cheese varieties mentioned in the sketch. However, this goal might well be futile, since one of the cheeses John Cleese asks for in the sketch is Venezuelan Beaver Cheese. But not to worry, the folks behind BeaverCheese.org are "still looking for the real thing."

Curdnerds.com in TONY

Curdnerds got a nice mention in this week's Time Out New York magazine (which hits the street today) in an article about the growing interest in artisanal cheese, especially among people in their 20s and 30s. Thanks so much to Time Out for the coverage!

There a couple of factual errors in the article though. I am definitely amazed and intrigued by what Michael Claypool and Sasha Davies are doing over at Cheesebyhand.com, but to say that they inspired me to start this blog is not true. (I do however own one of the t-shirts that they sell over there.) It's also a bit misleading to say

Jailhouse Roquefort

Cheese is a gastronomic incarnation of human resourcefulness, an example of our unique abilities to plan, to perfect and to persevere. It not only stimulates our senses, it also connects us to one another in the finely woven web of history. It connects us to that first person who was brave enough to eat the milk that curdled in his satchel made of goat-stomach. It connects us to the monks in Europe who channeled their devotion to God into the process of distilling and preserving the elemental mammalian nourishment: milk. It also connects us, in ways we can't begin to imagine, to those who are at the fringes of our society.

In the latest newsletter published by the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, there is a link to a letter they received from a man who has managed to make cheese in his jail cell, even without the use of rennet or starter bacteria. The milk he uses is limited to the pasteurized, homogenized

Listeria Recall in US

Further proof that Listeria outbreaks are not solely a problem of raw dairy products: Swiss-American, Inc., of St. Louis, MO, on Thursday announced a recall of their Cut Cahill's Farm Porter Cheese, a pasteurized cheese made with porter ale. Samples of the cheese were found to contain Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria that causes gastrointestinal distress in humans. It is generally harmless for most people (except for the diarrhea, nausea and vomiting), but it is especially dangerous for pregnant women where it can cause miscarriages and stillbirths.

L. monocytogenes is usually killed off in the process of pasteurization, and is often cited as one of the reasons why consuming raw dairy is deemed unsafe. However, as in this case, it is still possible for listeria infection to occur in

Fairway Opens in Brooklyn

Following fast behind the rampant installation of Starbucks outposts, today's opening of Fairway Supermarket in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn thus completes the yuppification of the area. But as a longtime devotee of Fairway's cheese department, steered by Maître Fromager Steve Jenkins, I am proud to count myself as one of the yuppies thrilled by the prospect of such an amazing store in my home borough of Brooklyn.

However, as excited as I am about browsing the cheese counter at this new branch, I will probably stay away from the place for at least six months. Anybody who's familiar with Brooklyn knows that Red Hook is very poorly served by the subway. Add to that the fact that you're going to want to buy many more things than you could possible carry in your arms, a car is pretty much mandatory here. Then again, driving anywhere in Brooklyn is

Cheese of the Week - Homemade Gruy&#232re-style

The hard thing about making aged cheeses is that the lessons you learn come many months after the mistakes you made. That's why it's important to take good notes so that when you finally taste the cheese you've made, you can either duplicate your process again or modify the things that may have caused any flaws.

You may remember that at the end of January, I blogged about three homemade (kosher!) Gruyère-style cheeses that were aging in my mini-fridge. The second-oldest of the three, made on January 17th, 2006, had too much rennet in it, which I assumed would make the cheese more bitter after a long period of aging. Normally this cheese is supposed to be aged for 5 months, but I decided to try it sooner than that, to make sure it wouldn't get too bitter.

I tried it at about the three month mark, and while it wasn't bitter, it also wasn't very flavorful either. The subtle flavor that it did have was good, but it was just too weak. I decided to try it again at the four month mark, which is around now. The flavor has definitely improved greatly, with the

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